One word answer, my friend? No! And how bad I feel to say that, for the dairy farmers who make their living from their cows.
And sure, dairy products do bring some wonderful nutrients (beyond calcium), but that’s raw, organic dairy.
Once you pasteurise a product, you bring it to a high heat and change the structure and destroy the nutrients we wanted in the first place.
Non-organic dairy, brings antibiotics, hormones and any other chemicals, such as pesticides from the grass the cow eats. Yes, just like breast milk, these substances all pass into the animal’s milk supply. And ultimately affect our health, often in a subtle way but over time, it has its effects.
And did you know?
- The oestrogen from the lactating cow passes through the milk which also has effects on our health, particularly hormonal health.
- Dairy milk can be quite inflammatory and ‘mucous-forming’. We may not see the inflammation inside us, but the constant ‘aggravation’, if we do not handle dairy, can leave our cells open to disease and cancer down the track.
- The calcium in cow’s milk is actually not as ‘bioavailable’ as the calcium derived from plant-based sources. That means our bodies actually absorb calcium more easily and need less, from these sources.
- The calcium industry has done a good job of marketing ‘3 serves a day’ to us for a long time. But did you know that even Mr Kellogg himself funded the original food pyramid? That happened to state we needed some amazing amount of grains per day, even more so than the most important food group, fruit and vegetables… Dairy is not the only or necessarily best source of calcium!
- Calcium is not the VIP of the minerals of our body! It actually works together with magnesium and zinc. So if you are deficient in any of these, your body will not be able to operate as well. Including strong bones! And of course there are many other minerals and vitamins that our body needs…also included in the calcium-rich plant foods.
- Did you know Vitamin K2 plays a necessary role in bone strength? But no one worries for our deficiency in that..
- If you feel to, you can insure your children in case of calcium deficiency, by supplementing them.
Wow! What do you think? It’s hard to ignore all of the above once you know it. And even more so once you have removed dairy as a trial. Typically the body gets stronger from not having to deal with it, which means you will notice exactly where dairy wreaks havoc in your little one’s life if/when you re-introduce it.
If you are considering it, it is certainly worth an elimination trial. Typically, this needs to be for at least 3 weeks.
Dairy-alternatives for calcium
- Soaked/activated almonds – soak for ~12 hours : double amount of water to almonds : then rinse until water runs clear. Boiled water for a short period can be a good quick option when needed.
- Soaked Brazil nuts
- Tahini – smoothies, spread, dip etc
- Sesame seeds – crumbs (for avocado pieces or with coconut flour as crumbing mix)
- Salmon fillets
- Tinned salmon & sardines – with bones (you can mash with fork and they are soft). Your children may love them!
- Dark leafy greens – kale, bok choy, chinese cabbage, spinach/baby spinach, rocket
- Green beans
- Raw fennel
- Tempeh (this is a soy based product)
- Cannelini beans
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds/linseeds
- Oatmeal (gluten)
- Dried herbs – dill, basil, marjoram, thyme, oregano, poppy seed, mint, celery seed, sage, parsley and rosemary
At first glance, you might think ‘my child would never eat any of this!’. And this is where the slow and steady approach comes in. If you need dairy gone quickly, use a supplement or look for something like rice or almond milk which usually has added calcium.
And in the meantime, find just one source that your little one might get into. Serve your best, tastiest version of that and see how you go. Then, my friend, you go back to the drawing board and pick another option!
In less snot and lifted brainfog